Iraq birth blocks Swedish teen’s high school place

Iraq birth blocks Swedish teen's high school place
A Swedish teenager has been denied a place on a flight engineer course at a Swedish high school due to having been born in Iraq, a decision described as "unacceptable" by a legal expert at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen).

“People like me are not allowed in there and I am very disappointed because I was first admitted and was then rejected,” Hussein Radhi told Sveriges Television (SVT).

16-year-old Radhi, who moved to Sweden as a 3-year-old and has been a citizen for 13 years, was initially accepted to the course at the Nils Ericsson high school in Trollhättan.

But when his place of birth was brought to the attention of the school’s education partner GKN Aerospace, he was told that he was no longer welcome.

The school has responded with regret over the news but stated that they are obliged to follow the regulations of the firm, where pupils spend a large part of their placement.

“Not everyone gets the placement that they desire, even on other programmes. But it shouldn’t be based on ethnicity,” Karl-Olof Pettersson at Nils Ericsson high school told SVT.

Pettersson conceded however that Hussein’s place of birth had in fact been the obstacle in this case and explained that trade regulations were to blame.

“It is almost a global political issue,” he said.

Anna Tamelin, a lawyer at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, has called the decision into question.

“I find it extremely doubtful, virtually impossible, (to believe) that it is permitted to have a general high school programme where US export regulations dictate the terms of who gets in or not,” she said to the local TTELA daily.

GKN Aerospace is a supplier to the global aviation industry with business equally focused on military and civil markets, whose operations in Sweden formally belonged to Volvo Aero. The Local’s attempts to reach the firm for comment on Thursday have been unsuccessful.

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